School Meal Budget Up To $7.2 Million

Remember what school was like years ago?

Walking to school everyday. Uphill. Both ways.

Eating the same gruel the school served for lunch, day after day.

Well, things have changed. Especially in Spokane school cafeterias.

District 81’s food services serves 16,000 lunches a day and 5,000 breakfasts, according to Rick Skinner, director of food services for Spokane schools.

Only the Seattle Public School District serves more food per day than District 81.

Skinner has been the district’s food services director for nine years. Food services had a $3.9 million operating budget when he took over. Now it’s $7.2 million.

Increased labor costs, healthier food and more food choices for kids caused the budget to nearly double, Skinner said.

In a given week, the district serves 12 different entrees to middle school students and 15 different entrees to high school students. Only five entrees a week are offered to elementary school students.

Skinner said the district is hoping it can diversify service to younger students in the future.

“The (food) choices available and the good nutrition are the biggest differences between the food served today and that was served about a decade ago,” Skinner said.

Despite the variety of choices on the menu, Tyson Hawkins, a sophomore at North Central High School, said there is only one entree meal that he enjoys.

“I don’t like any of the stuff except the calzones,” Tyson said. “The calzones are really good.”

Nevertheless, the food service industry has reduced the amount of fat, sugar and salt in the meals that get served to kids, Skinner said.

Roughly 26 million school meals are served to kids per day, according to the American School Food Service Association.

Arcadia to get crosswalk

Deer Park city officials have decided to make a crosswalk where a third grader from Arcadia Elementary was recently struck by a car.

The city plans to paint crosswalks after the Deer Park School District completes sidewalk construction on the east side of Arcadia.

The third grader was not injured in the accident. Camerra Alcazar, the girl’s mother, started a petition drive to get the city to paint the crosswalks.

Public invited to open house

All members of the Deer Park community are invited to come and see the remodeled Deer Park Junior High School. The building will be open to the public on Monday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Money for the remodel came from the passage of a 1995 school bond and state matching funds.

For more information call 276-8861.

Education Notebook is a regular feature of the North Side Voice. If you have news about an interesting program or activity at a North Side school or about the achievements of North Side students, teachers or school staff, please let us know. Deadline is Monday. Write: Kevin Blocker, Education Notebook, North Side Voice, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. E-mail: kevinb@spokesman.com. Call: 459-5513. Fax: 459-5482.

, DataTimes

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